After many years of false starts and delays, the offshore wind industry in the U.S. finally seems to be gaining momentum. According to the Department of Energy, more than 25 offshore wind projects with a generating capacity of 24 gigawatts are now being planned. Most of these are off of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts.
So far, there is only one commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S.: the tiny Block Island Wind project off Rhode Island. But analysts believe that the coming decade will see a real boom in offshore wind.
The Norwegian company Statoil plans to build a 1.5 GW wind farm in federal waters south of Long Island. It could produce enough electricity to power 1 million homes in New York City and Long Island.
Avangrid Renewables, an Oregon company, plans a similar-sized wind farm 27 miles off the coast of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Danish clean-energy giant Ørsted is hoping to build a 1 GW wind farm about 10 miles off the New Jersey coast.
Sophisticated turbine technologies and economies of scale are driving down the costs of offshore wind and new construction techniques are allowing wind farms to be built in deeper water farther offshore, lessening the public’s concern about the visual impact of wind turbines. A number of European wind technology companies with extensive experience in building and operating offshore farms are setting up shop in the U.S.
So far, the Trump administration, which is generally hostile to renewable energy, appears to be supporting the growth of offshore wind and Congress recently extended the tax credits for the wind industry for several more years. The technology may finally be powering up in the U.S.
Photo, posted October 15, 2017, courtesy of Mark Michaelis via Flickr.